An Indian wedding is rich in traditions, which stem both from the Hindu religion and regional ethnic customs. Most central in all of it is the figure of the Indian bride, who wears an elaborate hairstyle and is made up in traditional ways.
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Significance of Mehndi
The most distinctive element of bridal preparation is "mehndi," a temporary henna tattoo that is applied all over the hands and feet of the bride. The "mehndi party" takes place a day before the wedding, where the bride's female relatives attend and apply mehndi as well.
The Old World style of makeup includes a red or bronze tone on the face and a red jewel or "bindi" on the forehead. Bengali brides wear designs on their forehead applied with sandalwood paste. Black kohl eyeliner is traditionally used.
On the day of the wedding, the bride, along with the groom, is anointed with turmeric all over her face and arms. This is done to ensure that the marriage will be full of good fortune, fertility and prosperity.
The traditional hairstyle is an updo or a half-updo, and according to the Ramayana, "jeweled butterflies and other ornaments adorn [the bride's] lustrous black hair," which is covered by a veil or "cheli." A Bengali bride wears a crown known as a sholar mukat, which is carved out of the bark of a tree.
Bridal accessories are gold bracelets and anklets, jeweled earrings and even the traditional nath, a pearl-crusted nose ring.
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